Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, is set to become a global market-leader in the PNG energy and resources space, with the firm making multiple new hires and establishing an on-the-ground presence in Port Moresby.

Headlining the Papua New Guinea team is leading PNG resources sector specialist, Vaughan Mills, who has joined Corrs as a Partner. Vaughan has joined Corrs from Allens where he developed and led the firm’s Papua New Guinea practice for nearly 20 years.

Also joining Corrs’ PNG team are Nick Thorne (Special Counsel), Kenneth Imako (Special Counsel), Ryan Warokra (Senior Associate), Emmanuel Rere (Associate) and Jeff Mesa (Associate), with one Partner and two additional Associates also expected to join Corrs’ new PNG team in the coming months. In addition, four support staff have joined Corrs’ PNG team.

Corrs Partner and CEO John W. H. Denton AO said the firm’s client-driven approach was the motivating force behind Corrs’ move into PNG.

“Our strategy to maintain our independence was built on, and continues on, the premise that we are committed to providing our clients with best-of-breed expertise in every market. We never have to make compromises in order to please a global head office and, as a result, our clients have access to leading practitioners around the world who truly meet their needs. This uncompromising approach is what led us to the decision that in PNG it was necessary to establish our own presence there, housed with the best PNG lawyers in the market,” Mr Denton said.

“Vaughan is the most experienced lawyer in the PNG energy and resources space with an outstanding track record of advising on the most significant resources projects in Papua New Guinea. Combined with his team, Vaughan will be able to offer Corrs’ clients legal and strategic advice second to none. With the energy and resources sector in PNG of increasing importance to our clients and set for continued and substantial growth, we are proud to be standing firmly behind our commitment to remain an independent, client-driven firm providing our clients with the very best,” he added.

Corrs’ position as a global market-leader in the PNG energy and resources space complements the strength of the firm’s existing energy and resources national offering.

Vaughan Mills splits his time between Corrs’ Port Moresby and Brisbane offices. In addition, Corrs’ PNG team based in Port Moresby now numbers seven lawyers and support staff, and is expected to grow to a total of at least 10 by January 2018.

About Vaughan Mills

Vaughan Mills has been advising on energy and resources projects in Australia and Papua New Guinea for more than 23 years, including while based in Port Moresby for almost a decade.

Vaughan has been described as being 'absolutely commercial with a first class commercial approach', and has been named as a tier 1 leading individual in Chambers Global annually since 2009.

Most notably, Vaughan has acted as PNG counsel advising ExxonMobil as operator of the PNG LNG Project. Recently, Vaughan advised Oil Search in its US$2.5billion bid to acquire InterOil, which holds a 37% interest in the Papua LNG Project.

In Australia, Vaughan advised Shell Australia on its 20-year retail fuel Alliance with Coles Express.